Vietnamese passport ranks far behind Southeast Asian toppers

 Vietnamese passport ranks far behind Southeast Asian toppers

A person in Hanoi holds Vietnamese passports. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.

The Vietnamese passport ranks 94th among 116 positions in a global travel freedom index, far behind Southeast Asian toppers Singapore and Malaysia.

With access to 54 countries, the same as last year, the Vietnamese passport shares its ranking with Cambodia, Niger and Mali.

Singapore and Malaysia hold the most powerful passports in the region, ranking 2nd and 13th with visa exemptions to 192 and 179 countries and territories, respectively.

In Southeast Asia, a Vietnamese passport is only more powerful than Laos (97th) and Myanmar (100th), which have visa free access to 50 and 47 destinations respectively.

Vietnam was in 88th among 107 positions in last year’s ranking.

The rankings are contained in the 2021 Henley Passport Index released earlier this month by British global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners.

The annual list ranks all the world's passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa based on data from International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of travel information.

The Henley Passport Index rankings don't take into account the varying Covid-19 restrictions and border closures from some countries.

Japan has the most powerful passport in the world in 2021, with its citizens able to visit 193 countries and territories without applying for a visa.

South Korea shares the third position with Germany, with visa free access to 191 destinations.

The world’s least powerful passports come from poor countries mired in political conflicts like Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Henley & Partners Chairman Christian Kaelin said it was clear that global mobility will be "seriously hampered throughout 2021 at least.

"In many countries, serious doubts have arisen as to the ability to handle a global crisis, with the subsequent embrace of more inward-looking priorities."

In this context, "people need to expand their residence and passport options," he said.

As Vietnam struggles with its latest novel coronavirus outbreak triggered by the highly transmissible Delta variant, first identified in India, several countries including Sri Lanka, Oman, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have blocked entry to arrivals from Vietnam.

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